Member Reviews

This! I absolutely loved it. Easily 5 stars! The characters were so interesting and the story was unique so well written. I never felt like I was forcing myself to read and had a hard time putting this book down. Each chapter ended in such a way that you had to see what happened next. I read so quickly but now I'm sad that its over. I need more Liz Nugent ASAP.

Was this review helpful?

"Unraveling Oliver" is one of my all-time favorite books. This puts Liz Nugent extremely high on my "must read" author list. When I saw that she had a new book coming out, I literally squealed with delight. Was I expecting a lighthearted read? NEVER with Nugent. Her books are dark and utterly gripping. No exception here with "Strange Sally Diamond." I devoured this novel in no time and had to stop to catch my breath when I finished. Superb.

Sally Diamond is a bit strange. She displays a lot of typical signs of being atypical. She pretends to be deaf in order to avoid all social contact. She abhors talking to people because she doesn't really understand social cues and she is very literal. Her father has always indulged this side of Sally and for a reason. He tells her to "put (me) out with the trash when I die." Being that Sally is very literal, she does just that.

A media circus ensues when word gets out how she handled her father's death. She doesn't understand, what is the big deal? Sally is about to learn more about herself than she could ever have dreamt. Not only is she thrown into a new understanding of her circumstances, but she's also trying to learn to survive in this ugly world AND somebody knows something about her that would alter her life even more.

This is not for the faint of heart. It's emotional, devastating, horrific and all together addictive and touching. All the trigger warnings on this, but don't miss out on this immersive gem that is even more than expected from Liz Nugent. 4 stars

Was this review helpful?

I am a pretty big fan of Liz Nugent's, and honestly this is my favorite work of hers yet! I absolutely adored this story. Pitch dark, but also heartwarming and hopeful. A rare gem of a novel.

Was this review helpful?

Gripping, outrageous story! I loved it, especially the way it was written. The definition of "unputdownable". I'll be reading more from this author soon.

Was this review helpful?

First off a thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for allowing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure when I read what the book was about if I would like it. But I really did! It surprised me! I enjoyed the characters and I liked the storyline. I enjoy the author and have read many of her other books. The main character, Sally, has a very off-putting personality but I found myself liking her in spite of herself. I like that the author left the ending somewhat open and would love to see a follow-up novel following Peter. And maybe Sally can team up with one of the amateur true crime podcasters and track him down. I loved the dark spots in this book as well. It might have been boring if it were not for the kidnappings and Conor Geary.

Was this review helpful?

Strange Sally Diamond is a dark, thoughtful read/thriller, and reminded me (a little) of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Sally Diamond has a difficult past and is socially awkward, which was the same for Oliphant. For readers who need a thoughtful, reflective book, this is a perfect story. Neurodivergence is fascinating to read about, as many people are recognizing it more in society, especially post-pandemic. Sally uses different strengths and has different challenges than most people. She is an unforgettable character, and I related & kept rooting for her, because I was so invested in her story. It’s beautiful. For fans of Lisa Jewell, this book will be a favorite. Honeyman writes with a similar darkness in a thriller. Sally is a well developed character, and loved character, that I will be thinking of for a long time.

I would love it on audio, but I have only read the electronic version. Five out of five strong stars for me.

Thank you to Gallery Books, Gallery/Scout Press via NetGalley for this arc. I read this voluntarily and all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I could not put this down. I would highly recommend. I found it unique, mysterious and heartbreaking all at once. Thank you

Was this review helpful?

I don’t know what to say other than amazing-ok there were times I thought this was reminiscent of The Room however the writing, the empathy for the characters, an amazing work and I apologize for using amazing twice in a review. Characters are well drawn-as are the situational deportation. Definite recommend from those who like their mysteries on the edge .

Was this review helpful?

My toxic trait is being unable to write good reviews on books I loved. It's easy when I hate the book and I can list all the reasons why. It's harder when a book comes around that absolutely absorbs me into the story that by the time I'm done, all I know is that I f***ing loved it.

I'll try my best with this one though.

The book starts strong with the premise - Sally Diamond attempts to incinerate her father after he's passed away. I was immediately drawn into this world of Sally's brain and trying to understand how she moves through the world. It's clear that Sally is neurodivergent and in ways that make so much sense to my own neurodivergence. Her inability, in the beginning, to sense nuance was fascinating to me as someone who also sees the world pretty literally. However, throughout Sally's journey with therapy, we really get to see that side of her blossom where she can cope and see things from other perspectives. I'm not saying that you can therapy your way out of neurodivergence, and neither is the author. Rather, Sally's journey shows us just what healthy coping skills can look like for neurodivergent people who take on the work. Sally never beats herself up about who she it. In fact, she seems incredibly comfortable with herself. I'm just overwhelmingly happy with how this character was written so true to the neurodivergent brain and actually called attention to is rather than trying to write her off as quirky or "not like other girls."

There are actually two stories happening in this book and it's not abundantly clear whose other story you get to read from the description. I will say this, that story was the most fascinating to me. I cared deeply for Sally but I couldn't wait to get to the parts where the other story was taking place. The way the two stories mirror each other...just, chef's kiss honestly.

This book is not for the light-hearted. There are themes of rape, pedophilia, child abandonment, emotional and physical abuse, and probably more that I'm forgetting. But man, it was really good.

Was this review helpful?

This was my favorite book so far this year!!! Liz Nugent is such a wonderful author. This book got me out of a huge reading slump. I couldn't put it down!!! The storyline has so many moving parts and twists. Alternating time lines and POV really made this one epic read. Highly highly recommend

Was this review helpful?

Wow, this book was AMAZING! I could not put it down and read it in about five hours. There's a lot happening in this book, with the timeline moving from the present to flashbacks as we find out what happened to Sally, her mother and her relatives. Sally is realistically presented as a complex character who grows throughout the novel, even though there are several setbacks. The secondary cast of characters are interesting, as they are both straightforward and truthful with Sally, but empathetic to her situation. My favorite part of the book was the letter/card that Sally's childhood friend Stella writes to her after Sally's father dies. This is the second novel I've read by Liz Nugent and they've both been top notch!

Was this review helpful?

Five Happy Dance Stars!!! 💃💃💃💃💃

Sally's Dad told her to put him out with the trash when he dies. He said that he would be dead so he would not know any difference. So when he dies Sally follows his instructions. He was 80 years old and small. She put him in a large garden trash bag and put it in the barn and carefully put it in the incinerator barrel and put some Petro over the top and set it going. She is now the center of attention from the media.

Sally is socially defective. She acts like a deaf person because she doesn't want to talk to anyone. She also learns that people don't always say what they mean. She never cries. She does not remember any childhood memories before the age of seven. She loves to play the piano. She has PTSD from her traumatic past that she has no memory of. Someone from her past is trying to get a hold of her.

I screamed with excitement when I received this book from the publisher. This is a very dark thriller.
Liz Nugent's books are always dark but this one is her darkest one. I can't express how much I loved this book. Several times my hand covered my face because it was tough to read at times.

The characters in this book were outstanding.
They were done so well. There are good characters and evil characters. I loved Sally the best and loved watching her grow up and meeting friends and following her conversations with them.

I was glued to the pages and I was captivated in the story. I did not want it to end. The book is full of action and does not stop. This is an emotional read. It is very disturbing. After I finished reading it I screamed with excitement again because I loved it so much. I was doing the Happy Dance! 💃💃
So far this is my favorite book of the year and I think
it will stay there all year long.

I want to thank Netgalley, Gallery/Scout Press for the copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Sally Diamond is a 42 year old neurodivergent woman living with her father in Ireland until the day she finds him dead in his bed. She quickly disposes of his body in their barn’s incinerator- because that’s what she had been told to do, of course. Her very literal way of thinking and “social deficiencies” continue to lead her towards trouble, as she is now forced to handle these situations alone.

This story gripped me from the very beginning. I loved learning about Sally and getting glimpses into her past through her father’s letters. The split POVS between Sally and Peter’s perspective kept things really fresh, and I loved the crossover between their individual stories.

This is my first five star read in over a month! I couldn’t put my kindle down, and read the entire thing in under a day. I think this is going to be a big hit for thriller lovers everywhere when it releases!!

Thank you to the author and Netgalley for my e-ARC to read and honestly review!

Was this review helpful?

Book Title: Strange Sally Diamond
Author: Liz Nugent
Publisher: Gallery Books –Gallery/ Scout Press
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Pub Date: July 15, 2023
My Rating: 3 Stars

I was drawn to this story as one reader described Sally as an Eleanor Oliphant kind of character. True she finds social situations very difficult and doesn't always react emotionally like people think she should; nor does she think the way others do.
Story starts when Sally Diamond’s father tells her to put him out with the rubbish when he dies - so she does as she’s told.

I loved Eleanor Oliphant but this story is very dark and contains physical and sexual abuse, as well as violence~ Hmm I wasn’t sure if this was going to work for me.

I hung in there and surprised when it ended up better than expected.
I had a smile on my face at the ending.

Want to thank NetGalley and Gallery Books – Gallery/Scout Press for this early eGalley.
Publishing Release Date scheduled for July 18, 2023

Was this review helpful?

Strange Sally Diamond is my new favorite of Liz Nugent’s books. Loved it!

Sally Diamond lived with her father and her mother is dead. She is strange because socially she doesn’t know how to interact with other people. The reason for this becomes apparent through horrifying flashbacks. The book switches between her past and her attempts to make a life for herself after her father dies.

It’s definitely got soul, and more likeable characters than some of her previous books. I loved the sense of community that Sally encounters. She’s such a vulnerable woman, and it was great to be on her journey and see her making her own way.

The backstory I alluded to is horrendous and this isn’t a light-hearted read overall. I absolutely loved it.

Was this review helpful?

This book was beautifully complex, dark but moving, with moments of humor but with a very heavy focus of the effects of sexual/ physical abuse and the slow recovery or lack there of with the characters involved.

I have found there to be quite a few books in the last few years with neurodivergent characters, but this is one of my favorite I’ve read. It wasn’t done lightly or just for the sake of doing so, but very thoughtfully portrayed and inspected from multiple angles.

Loved this overall, and want to now go back through Nugent’s previous books that I haven’t read!

Was this review helpful?

Wow just wow! My first 5 star read of 2023…. I anticipate this will be one of 2023 best books. The description of this book draws you in until you read the first few chapters you uncover the underlying story here and are completely enthralled by it and how it starts to unfold. Who is the true villain of this book? While I can’t say for sure because I feel there are a few…. I can say I absolutely loved this book and wish I could go back and read it all over again for the first time.

Was this review helpful?

<b>Destined to be 2023's must-read book of the summer</b>

This is going to be a runaway hit. It has all the hallmarks of a bestseller: fast writing, an odd protagonist/unreliable narrator, a twisty-turvey mystery that keeps the pages turning, it's set in a cute Irish village, and it starts off with burning a body in a backyard incinerator!

My first thought was, and many people's first thoughts will be, "Oh, I've read this before. It's just like [book:Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine|35900387]." <b>But I was wrong! You will be wrong!</b> Although it feels like Eleanor Oliphant initially, this book is certainly not the same. Sally's odd behavior and view of the world stem from something much darker and different than Eleanor's. Sally isn't on the spectrum, and comparisons to other popular lit characters described as being "quirky and undiagnosed on the spectrum" would be unfair (looking at you, [book:The Maid|55196813]). Sally is more layered, and I really appreciated how Nugent didn't sugarcoat Sally's journey.

This is straight up a fun book to read. For a few hours, I didn't notice the time slip by. I felt a little unresolved in the ending, but after thinking about it a bit, I've concluded that it works really well. Some things shouldn't get wrapped up in nice neat bows. That's not fair to this story or to Sally and her journey. Some stories have happy endings only because that's where the story stopped. Sally's story will continue after I stop reading.

I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced ebook copy.

Had an enjoyable time reading this book.

Was this review helpful?

"Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died."

Okay, everyone.. I'll just go ahead and call it. This is going to be one of the best books of the year. It's been nearly a week since I finished it, and I still can't get it out of my head!

I loved Sally from the beginning, and although she would have hated it, I just wanted to hug her. To avoid spoilers, I'm going to keep this short and simple. If you're a fan of psychological thrillers full of heartbreak, secrets, shocks, and the perfect amount of dark humor sprinkled throughout, this one is for you! It's a mix of Room and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and I am *HERE FOR IT*.

I do recommend checking the trigger warnings first. When I say this one is dark, I mean it's DARK.

It comes out on July 18th, so be sure to check it out. I'll be shocked if you don't read it in one sitting. It's that good.

Was this review helpful?